BASEBALL: Saline's SEC Title Hopes Dealt a Blow
For years now, the winner of the Bedford-Saline season series has had the upper hand in the hunt for the SEC Red championship.
So this week was the most important week to date for both teams, as the Hornets and Kicking Mules settled in for a three-game series.
Saline won the opener, 4-2, at Bedford Monday. Bedford led 3-1 in the second game when the game was suspended due to darkness. The series finally resumed Friday at Saline High School.
The Mules added four runs to their lead for a 7-1 advantage. Saline fight back to tie the game at 8 in the sixth inning. But from there, the Saline bats went cold and Bedford won 9-8.
Bedford leads 12-1 through four innings in the deciding game, which was suspended due to darkness.
Bedford is 9-1 and 5-1 in the SEC Red. Saline is 6-3 and 1-1 in the SEC Red.
Bedford opened the day by scoring four runs in the third inning to take a 7-3 lead. Mason Glennie pitched 5 1/3 innings for Saline, giving up five walks, 10 hits and eight runs (seven earned). He struck out three.
Glennie settled in after the third inning.
In the top of the fifth, the Hornet bats awoke. Jackson Conley led with a single to center. Braden LaRusso followed with an infield single. Bobby Butler singled to left, scoring courtesy runner Dru Campbell. With two out, Kyler Blake-Jones doubled to centerfield, scoring two runs.
Luke Rykard followed with a triple to score courtesy runner Kyle Socha. Zack Socha singled to score Rykard. Saline climbed back into the contest, down 7-6. Bedford added a run in the bottom of the inning to extend their lead.
In the next inning, the Hornets went back to work. Larusso reached base on a one-out single to center. Then Aidan Arbaugh smashed a long fly ball over the fence in center to tie the game at 8.
Saline had seized momentum and seemed poised to take a 2-0 lead in the series.
In the bottom of the sixth, Glennie hit the first batter. But Conley, the catcher, threw the runner out trying to steal second. When Glennie hit the next batter, coach Al Zeiher decided to bring in Aidan Carlson from the bullpen. The next batter reached on an error. Carlson got the next two batters on balls hit to Scoop Harden at second. The game was still tied at 8.
After the Hornets were set down in order in the top of the eighth, Carlson found himself in another jam in the bottom of the inning. Bedford's first batter reached on an error. The next reached on a fungo to short leftfield. Carlson got one out on a pop to second. Carlson struck out the next two. In the top of the ninth, the Hornets went down in order.
Bedford won it in the bottom of the ninth. Their lead off man reached on an error and took second on an error. He took third on a single. Carlson intentionally walked the next batter and the winning run then scored on a passed ball.
The Hornets were charged with five errors in the contest.
In the second game, starting pitcher Fletcher Whitley struck out the first two batters and then ran into trouble - walking the next three before giving up a bases-clearing double. LaRusso entered the game for Saline. Bedford led 5-0 after the first inning.
Saline got a run back in the bottom of the second on a home run by Zach Socha, but Bedford scored six more in the third and added another in the fourth.